Worried that your gum line is gradually eroding? There are ways to help.
Gum recession, where the margin of gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, is a fairly common dental problem. Most people don’t realize they have it because it occurs over a long period of time. However, when gums pull back and expose more of the tooth, pockets start to form between the teeth and the gum line. This makes it easy for disease-causing bacteria to accumulate.
Causes of gum recession
The first way to take action is to know what triggers gums recession.
Periodontal diseases: Periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis (early stage gum disease) and periodontitis (late stage gum disease) are the main causes of gum recession. These bacterial gum infections destroy tissue and supporting bones that hold your teeth in place.
Aggressive tooth brushing: People who hold their brushes too firmly and scrub too hard or the wrong way may cause tooth enamel to wear away and gums to recede. It’s also important to replace toothbrushes or tooth heads for electric toothbrushes every two to three months, since bacteria can start to gather on bristles.
Inadequate dental care: Not visiting the dentist enough combined with insufficient brushing and flossing fosters plaque buildup, which turns into tartar, the hard substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
Genes: Due to genetic factors, some people are more susceptible to gum disease. Research suggests that 30 percent of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, no matter how well they care for their teeth.
Tobacco products: Cigarettes, cigars, chew and other tobacco products are a big culprit of gum disease, since the chemicals create sticky plaque that damages teeth. In addition, it may cause dry mouth, tooth decay and smoker’s breath.
Hormonal changes: Varying hormone levels associated with life events such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession. Read the rest of this entry »